The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has announced plans to develop a new green building standard for residential properties, including multifamily buildings three stories or fewer in height. Of concern, proposed Standard 189.2, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Sustainable Low-Rise Residential Buildings, would duplicate the scope of the apartment industry-supported National Green Building Standard (NGBS).
The NGBS is an important tool for the multifamily sector, as it is the only code-based green building program designed for all residential construction. In addition, the NGBS has been widely used throughout the industry and has been incorporated into numerous sustainability initiatives at the jurisdictional level. To date, 679 multifamily projects have been certified under the NGBS, totaling more than 16,000 apartment units. An additional 44,000 multifamily units are currently in the certification pipeline.
Further, Standard 189.2 is likely to mirror the format of ASHRAE Standard 189.1, which addresses green building in commercial structures and high-rise multifamily properties. That standard represents a significant departure from the NGBS, because it does not allow users the flexibility of selecting from a menu of sustainable practices. Instead, all of 189.1’s provisions are mandatory and designed for code adoption rather than voluntary use.
NMHC/NAA will continue to monitor the development of ASHRAE 189.2, voice opposition to efforts that conflict with or undermine the implementation of the NGBS.